, Volume 240, Issue 1–3, pp 45–59 | Cite as

Biogeochemistry of manganese- and iron-rich sediments in Toolik Lake, Alaska

  • Jeffrey C. Cornwell
  • George W. Kipphut


The sediments within Toolik Lake in arctic Alaska are characterized by extremely low rates of organic matter sedimentation and unusually high concentrations of iron and manganese. Pore water and solid phase measurements of iron, manganese, trace metals, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur are consistent with the hypothesis that the reduction of organic matter by iron and manganese is the most important biogeochemical reaction within the sediment. Very low rates of dissolved oxygen consumption by the sediments result in an oxidizing environment at the sediment-water interface. This results in high retention of upwardly-diffusing iron and manganese and the formation of metal-enriched sediment. Phosphate in sediment pore waters is strongly adsorbed by the metal-enriched phases. Consequently, fluxes of phosphorus from the sediments to overlying waters are very small and contribute to the oligotrophic nature of the Toolik Lake aquatic system. Toolik Lake contains an unusual type of lacustrine sediment, and in many ways the sediments are similar to those found in oligotrophic oceanic environments.

Key words

arctic lakes trace metals lake sediments manganese iron phosphorus sediment-water flux diagenesis Toolik Lake 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey C. Cornwell
    • 1
  • George W. Kipphut
    • 2
  1. 1.Horn Point Environmental LaboratoryUniversity of Maryland CEESCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity of Alaska-FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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